Immediate/deep priors, ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of HBD/hereditar

JuliusBranson · 222

JuliusBranson

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Basically, this thread is for reaching an understanding as to how my interlocuters and I differ when it comes to fundamental moral values and descriptive understanding of HBD. This is in contrast to building solid written cases on this topic -- here is the thread for that (my disappointment in the participation there has also influenced the creation of this thread). Since that latter thread doesn't seem to be working, I think it will be more worthwhile for now for me and my interlocuters to talk about these philosophical things instead of trying to pwn each other with evidence. Basically I think we need to take a step back and examine why we believe what we believe without reference to studies we haven't consciously memorized. We might want to think about our confidence levels with reference to what we currently have in our heads.
 
Sorry if this doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm tired and I don't know exactly what this should look like. Basically I'm more interested in how people think about HBD morally and epistemically than I am about HBD itself in this thread. Let me try to provide an example:
 
I think histories of how we formed our beliefs might be good, alongside explanations of our moral values. First I noticed people were blaming me, my family, my race, for the under performance of black people.  It's pretty much undisputed that they have lower IQs, commit more crime, etc, but these things were taken to be due to their "oppression" by white people. The alternative, of course, is that these gaps are their fault, and it can be 20% their fault, 80% their fault, 100% their fault, etc depending on how oppressed they are relative to the gap. Second I noticed that since before I was born, society largely bows down to black people at the expense of white people. The people telling me that I am bad and an oppressor of poor black people are very powerful and will punish me if I disagree with them. That's a major blow against their credibility. They're also very hostile to scientific discussion. See Hsu, Scott Alexander, Damore, Murray, Big Tech censorship, the general occurrence that asking "hey wait what's the evidence that the gap is white peoples' fault" is considered "racist" and needs to be punished etc. So at the point when I see one side is openly debating and the other is busy censoring, I start to assign negative credibility to the censors. It may be "consensus", but it's dirty consensus, poisoned by power, so I ignore the consensus. I know nothing. The TV says I'm an oppressor, but I reject that, I know nothing because I see how it's all politics and how they can't handle someone asking questions. Maybe I am an oppressor, maybe not, but I can't trust the people on  the TV or in the college, I have to look at the evidence myself.
 
So I went from basically being a blank slatist like I was taught to be to being agnostic to looking at the evidence and slowly becoming more hereditarian (this is why I harp on understanding the broad body of evidence and it's why I suspect those who disagree with me aren't well read on this stuff). Particularly for me, I got acquainted through Ryan Faulk's work (which I link all the time), the Bell Curve, Plomin's "Behavioral Genetics" (7th edition), Jensen's Educability and Group Differences, and finally my own review of studies, alongside extraneous reading here and there of blogs and papers and forum posts and so on. This took place over the course of a few years. In general, I learned about the broader theory of behavioral genetics, human evolution, the theory of IQ, and atop these things, the factoids relating to the black-white IQ gap.
 
Those factoids are really only the tip of the ice berg. In general, things clicked in this order: 1. people are genetic machines and the product of evolution. 2. IQ is important and highly heritable. 3. the black white IQ gap is ~100% genetic.

Each of these points are very deep. 1 includes things I've struggled on with people here like the fact that evolution is fast, that race is real and you can tell the races apart by their DNA. There are many examples of Mendelian and polygenetic traits that faced divergent pressures between races -- skin color, head shape, facial features, brain size, height, athletic capacity, sickle cell anemia, lactose tolerance, wetness of ear wax, the list goes on. Are all these things caused by oppression? Is there some reason why evolution would just not effect the brain? As I learned in point 2, the answer is no, and therefore from point 1 a learned person's priors should be that the genetic impact is significant. How significant depends on how much oppression blacks face -- looking around, I maintained they are not oppressed at all, especially compared to a high school student, so my priors were that the gap was ~100% since a big genetic contribution is highly likely and white people basically do nothing but uplift them. It's even possible that the gap is >100% since we redistribute them so much of our wealth, and if you consider their IQ in Africa to be what happens when you leave them alone, then the gap is approximately 200% genetic, I think, since they're an SD lower in Africa. I digress. This comes with some caveats though, specifically I think this would refer to what I call "broad sense between races heritability" whereas the narrow sense is probably 80-100%. Let me explain culture and then I will explain this more.

When learning about point 1 I also started to think about culture in a more exact, scientific way. I realized that "culture" is in large part the expression of a population's gene pool. This is especially true for "moral culture", which is of course highly relevant to politics (politics is basically moral cultures waging war) which is the product of group temperaments, and less true for "superficial culture," which happen to be irrelevant for politics -- stuff like cuisine, accents, manner of dress, these things are partially influenced by genetics but may be highly random or determined by the environment.  You start to realize too that people make their own environments in large part. So then comes along this concept of broad-sense between-races heritability. Say black people were malnourished and that that reduces their IQ by 5 points. Their genotypic IQ would be 90. If this is the result of their own choices and abilities, the broad-sense heritability of the gap is at least 100%. 100 - BroadSense = how oppressed they are by white people / others. If BroadSense is 200, they are anti-oppressed at the level of -100. If BroadSense is 100, they are simply not oppressed. If it's 50, they are oppressed around +50. This is a relative score, obviously. If their real IQ were like 110, they'd be mega oppressed with a factor over 100.

"Narrow sense," on the other hand, refers to what the gap is if they have a white environment. In the case above, it would be 66%. I find this way of thinking about the gap to be too obedient to the current powers, since if blacks make their own environment worse than whites I see no reason why that shouldn't be factored in.

So, I was thinking about all of these things, maybe a bit less succinctly, by the time part 1 clicked. Then I moved on to 2, learning about IQ and within groups heritability and behavioral genetics. Just like how I have had people who have clearly not gone through stage 1, who confuse moral culture with superficial culture, who don't realize man is a genetic organism, who point towards vague notions of single motherhood as "environmental causes" without really understanding the broader picture of genetics, I have had multiple people struggle over prerequisite notions of what genetic and environmental even mean in the context of behavioral genetics. In 2 I learned these things: it's all about variance. Genetic and environmental are relative to a place and time. Often when people seem very confident that everything is environmental and "you just can't tease these things apart, so give up and let my team keep redistributing your wealth under the assumption of the blank slate", I ask them to define variance or heritability. They usually do not define these things correctly (Google used to give a naive definition, now it seems to be fixed, sadly). Heritability within groups is the proportion of genetic variance to phenotypic variance within that population. Heritability of a gap between groups can be defined as I did above with reference to responsibility or with reference to some standard environment.

I learned that the model is P = G + E and why this makes sense for quantitative traits. I learned from Plomin and others that heritability is usually very high and that family environment almost universally accounts for little to no variation between between twins reared apart. I learned that overall people are not that sensitive to their environments -- Gould's "butterfly effect" is not true in other words. For IQ, we know that whether or not you read to a kid at night, or play Beethoven CDs, or make $40k/yr vs. $200k/yr won't causally effect their IQ. Why would it? Will it effect their height? Their liver function? No, only nutrition does that. So too I began to see that IQ is really a physical property of the brain. The test is somewhat imperfect but reliable at .8 to .9 in adulthood. The best within groups heritabilities register in between .8 and .9. The physical trait IQ seems to measure has a lot to do with "g" -- this factor is the predictive part of IQ scores, and blacks and whites vary more on more g loaded exams. I realized that "it's their culture" or "it's stereotype threat" is either nonsense or is code for "it's their genes."

Finally I was ready for step 3. Here I learned the naughtiest factoids. IQ explains the racial wealth gap (blacks with IQs equal to whites actually make slightly more -- affirmative action / 100+% broad-sense heritability), it explains most of the crime gap. Races vary greatly on genes linked to the nervous system. IQ correlates with white admixture. There is no evidence of environmental causation despite billions of dollars and decades of research (see the thread linked to in the 2nd paragraph!). Blacks and whites are equally nourished in the US. Blacks are not poisoned by lead or other toxins more than whites on average. (combined with 2 this does it for me -- you're left with "culture" which is really genes if you want an "environmental factor" that isn't total nonsense). Variance in school quality doesn't impact anything. Early childhood intervention programs consist of teaching to the test and do nothing by adulthood.  The gap persists at all SES levels. Regression to the mean predicts a genotypic IQ of roughly 100 for whites and 85 for blacks. The Wilson effect shows that heritability of IQ increases with age until adulthood -- the IQ gap increases with age to adulthood. More low IQ blacks have more kids than low IQ whites which implies their average genetic IQ is decreasing faster than whites right now which implies that it's very unlikely for our genetic IQs to have ever been the same and if they were recently that would have been a massive, temporary coincidence. I'm sure there's more I could drudge up from my mind but you get the point. If any more than 1 of these things are unfamiliar to you, you really shouldn't be confidently stating an opinion on the gap. Anyway, last came the icing on the cake, the dessert following the huge 3 course meal of meat and vegetables: the MTRAS. It's the only black-white transracial adoption study to have data from grown up participants. It was run by a liberal researcher and happened to find a black white IQ gap of 15 points. It also happened to find a mixed race IQ right in the middle of the gap. Lol. This study was largely ignored until someone wrote a horrible critique in 2017 complaining about attrition. He "corrected" by in part adding in a retarded white kid with an IQ of 63 -- when you remove this and keep his other "corrections" the gap comes back in full force (even with his corrections it was only compressed). The MTRAS really is the smoking gun but it's very easy for people who have not had their full course meal to misunderstand it, to talk about the age of the adoptees (4 on average IIRC) as if that's relevant or to ignorantly cite the performative, 20 year late rebuttal paper I just mentioned. All of this is beside the point when you see the whole picture -- when I see people who do this I am very confident that they have not had their dinner. It's basically like in physics if you take that paper that showed speed of light didn't vary with reference frame speed -- that's a smoking gun for special relativity but many physicists just ignored it, made spurious "corrections" and otherwise doubted the data. Imagine talking about that paper with someone who would lose a lot of status for going against Newtonian mechanics who knows nothing about relativity and doesn't want to know anything about it. That's what Einstein faced, partially. He didn't have to deal with politics and power corrupting the discourse.

So that's it, that's my journey, that's most of what I know off the top of my head. I also looked at studies on oppression -- there's one showing employers don't like black names, which makes sense to me, but it didn't replicate well at some point, probably because you will get different results in California vs. Florida or wherever it was done. For black people named John though I didn't find evidence of oppression, especially not oppression that would impact IQ. The mere fact that we give them food stamps disproportionately funded by white people and disproportionately consumed by black people combined with the fact that they're not malnourished basically ends any idea of IQ relevant oppression for me. Also in general black people just take a superior position to me -- if one is equal or near equal in performance they will be favored over me by employers, they get to talk about how crackers have no culture but I vaguely lose status for not listening to rap and definitely lose status for saying I don't like "black culture." Talking about the facts I laid out here in public is unimaginable, yet they get to act like whites being horrible oppressors is holy fact.

Without getting into "powerology" here, I concluded that I was scammed, that the racial IQ gap is ~100%, and that much else is wrong. This, in combination with my ethic, which as I already briefly outlined on another thread values me, my family, my race, my nation, outsiders who are not threats in that order. I realized that outsiders with a tendency to commit crime and a genetic IQ well below the national average are pretty much hostile and definitely a burden for my whole nation, including the minorities presently in it. So I largely oppose more nonwhite immigration. For my family and extended family's sake, I also oppose laws saying that we have to bow down to minorities which currently exist in our country. I have found the idea that we are oppressors to be false. At this point nobody is currently entitled to access to white people, especially in the current political context. In general, I don't see the moral case in 1960 that a business owner should ever have to hire anyone other than who he wants, especially on a racial basis. I can see an argument for no state-enforced segregation and as such I am fine with pure freedom of association in America. Just from a personal perspective, I would hire some intelligent black minorities in another place and time, but at the moment, even if they're so smart, I simply don't want people who hate me working around me. I also certainly think the time for affirmative action is  over -- we need meritocracy. The evidence shows us that when someone who is black or brown or white performs at a certain level, that's really their performance level. It's not secretly depressed by oppression. Blacks who get into Harvard with 1350s on the SATs are about as smart as whites who don't get into Harvard with 1350 SATs.

I don't really think my fundamental morality differs from people here in a negative way. If anything I do believe that I am more altruistic and compassionate than my outgroup, but that's typical I suppose. So I am also interested in people who might want to discuss how their moral values differ from mine and why, if they do.



MarathonAnon

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When learning about point 1 I also started to think about culture in a more exact, scientific way. I realized that "culture" is in large part the expression of a population's gene pool. This is especially true for "moral culture", which is of course highly relevant to politics (politics is basically moral cultures waging war) which is the product of group temperaments, and less true for "superficial culture," which happen to be irrelevant for politics -- stuff like cuisine, accents, manner of dress, these things are partially influenced by genetics but may be highly random or determined by the environment.  You start to realize too that people make their own environments in large part. So then comes along this concept of broad-sense between-races heritability. Say black people were malnourished and that that reduces their IQ by 5 points. Their genotypic IQ would be 90. If this is the result of their own choices and abilities, the broad-sense heritability of the gap is at least 100%. 100 - BroadSense = how oppressed they are by white people / others. If BroadSense is 200, they are anti-oppressed at the level of -100. If BroadSense is 100, they are simply not oppressed. If it's 50, they are oppressed around +50. This is a relative score, obviously. If their real IQ were like 110, they'd be mega oppressed with a factor over 100.

That one seems like the obvious sticking point to me.
There have been multiple waves of rather radical policy changes over the last couple of centuries, largely predating immigration from "nonwhite" countries. Mussolini/Marx/Hitler all came from areas that had been at the forefront of civilisation, but their ideologies went and wrecked ~half the world. Almost all the communists revolutionaries had upper class upbringings and ancestries in their countries. Most indicators of development in Somalia improved after their communist government collapsed (except education which was largely driven by foreign aid, which dried up).
Even if we want to set those ideologies aside as extreme cases, there's been an enormous improvement in the third world's economies over the last couple of decades, largely from their willingly emulating policies that seemed to work in the first world. You singled out Botswana as a placeholder for African-country-we-don't-want-to-end-up-like but their corruption rating is similar to Israel/Slovenia/Portugal, they've got reasonably good policies wrt. foreign investment and taxation, and as a result they're doing quite well compared to their neighbors (they're still getting a boost from diamond mining, but it's not where the growth is coming from anymore). The US still noticeably outperforms most whiter countries (it's 60% non-hispanic whites vs Canada's 73% or the UK's 85%). Singapore massively outperforms all the countries its main ethnic groups come from. India underperforms horribly (though it probably deserves to be counted under the socialist bucket, an ideology Nehru picked up from still-very-white-at-the-time Cambridge).